As we move into a new national lockdown, we want to give colleagues a clear overview of the current situation and our plan moving forward. The following is a service update from Early Years and Childcare Service Senior Manager, Val Smith.
Happy New Year to everyone, and I hope you managed to get some time to enjoy the Christmas break.
As you know, we are now in another lockdown. This time, however, the Government have stated that although schools will be closed to all children other than those deemed vulnerable or have parents who are critical workers, Early Years and Childcare settings will remain open to all children.
We are expecting further guidance later this week, but for now the expectation is that you operate in the same way as you have been doing since the beginning of the Autumn term. We recognise that there are now questions relating to non-attendance, census, staff shortages and funding that need answering. But until we get further clarity from the government, we are expecting you to operate as business as usual which will include you completing the head count tasks as normal (Headcount week 17-23 January).
I understand how difficult this is for you when, understandably, you have staff who are concerned about their own families welfare, alongside their childcare responsibilities. But just to remind you all that Early Years staff are seen as critical workers and should therefore be able to access childcare/school places if they so wish.
The Early Years Funding Team will send a message via the Provider Portal on 5 January, but please be assured that as soon as we receive further guidance from the Department for Education, we will let you know how or if your current model of delivery/funding will be affected.
Senior Manager (Early Years and Childcare Service)